To borrow a phrase from GOT, "Winter is coming", and around this time of the year I start getting cravings for things like apple pie, apple crumble, apple cakes... you see the pattern here right? Basically anything with apples. My need for all things apple got me thinking. What if I could combine two of my favorite things, apples and bread, to make apple cinnamon rolls!
I know I've said this before, on numerous occasions, but I'll say it again. There is nothing quite like the aroma of baking apples and cinnamon wafting through the house. And if you factor in the aroma of baking bread... its my idea of heaven. You cook with your nose as much as with your eyes. The sense of smell is so important and its probably one of the reasons I love to cook. The pure pleasure you get from having the mouth watering smell of good food filling your nostrils. That, and the joy you feel when things you make are polished up.
These rolls are a great breakfast treat. Make them a day ahead, and then enjoy them the following morning. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have often gone to bed looking forward to, and dreaming about enjoying these rolls for breakfast the next morning. What could be better than waking up, banging a roll in the micro for a couple of seconds and enjoying it with a nice, steaming cup of coffee. They are also great for a teatime snack, especially if you have friends visiting. They are a great way to get oohs and ahhs from them.
Anyway Sunday was the day I ear marked for the experiment of my apple cinnamon rolls. All of us were at home so we could all enjoy some hot, yummy bread fresh out of the oven. (I kept my fingers crossed that the experiment would work, else I'd have a very grumpy hubby and UJ to deal with). The main experiment was with the bread recipe. A while back I had posted a recipe for cinnamon rolls which I had tried out. These were nice and rich, but I wasn't totally satisfied with the bread. It wasn't light and fluffy. I basically wanted a rich, slightly sweet bread that was also light and fluffy. A little tweaking was in order and I decided to try out some things of my own. Isn't that the best part of cooking? Trying new things and experimenting? Sometimes meeting with success and at others, dealing with total disasters.
Like the time I first attempted to make a pizza base at home. I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe which said pile the flour on the counter top, make a well in the center of the flour and pour your liquid in. Well I did exactly that, but for some reason the liquid yeast mixture decided to over flow and spill all over my counter, down the sides of my cabinets and all over the floor. What a DISASTER! and a total MESS for me to clean up! After a lot of cursing and ranting I did learn a valuable lesson. I'm no Jamie Oliver :-) And since that day, I've always done all preliminary mixing in a nice big bowl. No spills!
Luckily, this experiment was a success. The rolls turned out pretty darn good, even if I say so my self. They were rich, soft, a little sweet and still fluffy. And they disappeared pretty quickly. They are fine to keep overnight, but I would suggest storing them in the fridge if its for any longer (if they last that long!).
7 cups plain flour
3 tsp dried yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar minus 1 tbsp
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp baking powder
8 apples, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp clove powder
2 tbsp butter
Extra softened butter
Extra dark brown sugar
Extra cinnamon powder
In a large pan heat the milk with the sugar until the milk is just warm. To this add the butter, honey, olive oil and mix until the butter melts. When the mixture has cooled and is lukewarm, add the yeast and stir gently. Leave for about 15 minutes until the mixture appears frothy.
While the yeast is working its magic, sieve the flour.
Once the yeast has become all frothy, add the egg, vanilla, and baking powder and mix well, but do not whisk. Add the flour (I suggest you first add only six cups of flour and slowly add more if the mixture is too sticky to knead) to this and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Tip this out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl that has been lightly greased, cover with a wet towel and leave it alone for about 2 hours, till it doubles.
While the dough is rising, place the chopped apples in a pan with the sugars, cinnamon, clove and 1 tbsp butter, cover and heat on a low flame until the apples have softened and browned. Remove the lid and heat until any liquid drys out. The mixture has to have absolutely no liquid. Let it cool.
Once the dough had risen, tip it out onto the platform and divide into four parts. Roll each part into balls. Roll each individual ball out. Spread some softened butter onto the rolled out dough.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Evenly spread out your apple mixture and then sprinkle with cinnamon powder, dark brown sugar and sugar.
It should look something like this.
Start rolling the dough like in this
Cut the roll like this
Place in a greased pan like this.
Cover with a wet towel and let it rise for about 20 minutes to half an hour. The rolls will puff up. Bake in the oven until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush top of rolls with butter and allow to cool.
Repeat same process with other rolls.
Hope you enjoy!
[All Images- Shalini Pereira]